SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY INSTITUTE
The ACTS Science and Technology Policy Institute is an endeavor to consolidate and build upon past experience in the area of capacity building since ACTS ran a cognate programme in biodiversity policy analysis and management between 1994 and 1998. The need for the Institute is a function of the perceived failure of higher education system in many sub-Saharan African countries to provide holistic training that would enable practitioners to effectively function as managers and policy analysts in areas that are fundamentally interdisciplinary. The aim is to build capacity of key stakeholder groups in important developmental areas of science and technology policy and environmental management.
Read More About the institute and timeline
COURSES AND ACCREDITATION
The courses are targeted at technical and management staff in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government ministries, research institutions and consultancy firms. They are run at ACTS headquarters and are accredited by a number of overseas universities. The object of this is to provide academic credibility and to enable universities themselves to play a more direct role. On the international front, the current candidate bodies are Penn State University (US), Harvard University (US), and Strathclyde University (UK).
This initiative is critical and timely. It comes at a time when the role of science and technology (S&T) in economic development is increasingly being recognized not just in the developed world, but in developing countries as well. More than ever, development institutions, not least the World Bank, are increasingly accepting and demonstrating strong correlations between the percentage of GDP spent in research and development and GDP per capita. Furthermore, S&T is increasingly becoming part of the agenda of both the international community and policy makers in developing countries. These strengthen prospects for the viability of the S&T Institute and for ACTS to realize its vision of "Better living standards for all in Africa through harnessing Science and Technology for sustainable development." The strategic expectation here is that through the Institute, ACTS is better placed to influence change and complement other strategies adopted by the African Governments to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In addition, the Institute strategically acts as a cost-recovery mechanism for ACTS and reduces the centre's over-reliance on donor funding.
The secretariat has undertaken further market research and participated in other relevant programmes. It found that though there are many capacity building courses across SSA most of these are designed as fairly narrow activities dealing with provision of specific skills. There still are no programmes dealing systematically with policy analysis capacity. As a result of these experiences ACTS decided to establish the Institute to meet the same need but to do so in a more cost effective manner.
DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS
ACTS' Science and Technology Institute is a training institution that focuses on providing training programs on two broad areas; science and technology literacy, and related policy issues. ACTS Institute developed in two phases. Phase one mainly involved planning activities such as building capacity for the institute, recruitment of staff, curriculum development, initial marketing of the Institute and establishing links with Universities. A pilot program consisting of two short courses with about twenty Kenyan students for each was ran in September and October 2005. In the second phase beginning 2006, ACTS worked towards commercializing the Institute. In this phase, participants were sourced from all ACTS' member States. The future plan was to bring on board other African Countries based on the results of the second phase implementation.
In year three (2007), the institute revised its curriculum as necessary, based both on participatory evaluations of previous courses, and changes in technology, international environmental governance frameworks, and African domestic.
In years 2008 and 2009, the Training Institute has been built up more strategically and systemically to enhance and complement the programme work carried out at the centre. The Institute's activities have been intergrated with regular research work to ensure better overall coherence, synergy and quality assurance of all capacity-building carried out in order to impact ACTS as an organisation. The Institute is currently revising the business plan for 2009 -2013
The design of the training programmes is akin to the Short Course or Executive Programs format, with a post-graduate curriculum accredited by internationally acclaimed Universities, coordinated and hosted by ACTS.
Read More »